Will I Regret Leaving Academia for an Industry Job? | Summary and Q&A

September 25, 2018
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Will I Regret Leaving Academia for an Industry Job?


Scientists considering a career switch from academia to industry may worry about potential regrets and job security, but personal fulfillment, variety, and valuable skills can be found in industry careers.

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Key Insights

  • 🥰 Concerns about regret, love for learning, and job security can dissuade scientists from transitioning to industry.
  • 🈸 Industry careers can provide fulfillment and intellectual stimulation through learning about various applications.
  • 💦 Recognition and rewarding work can be found in developing applications and meeting practical needs.
  • 😫 Job security in industry relies on having a broad set of skills that make one valuable across different companies and industries.
  • ❓ The freedom to explore different roles and experiences in industry can be exciting and fulfilling.
  • 🗯️ Transitioning from academia to industry requires effort in developing the right skills and understanding where one is valuable.
  • 🧑‍🔬 Many scientists have successfully transitioned to industry careers and do not regret their decision.


So this video is for all you scientists out there... who are considering leaving academia for a career in industry, but you're worried you may get a few years down the road... and decide it was the wrong decision... and then feel stuck. I've dealt with this question a long time ago in my own career. And while I can't tell you what's best for you, I... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What are some common concerns scientists have when considering a transition from academia to industry?

Scientists often worry about regretting their decision, missing the love for learning new science, and losing the esteem associated with being a scientist.

Q: How can the love for learning new things be satisfied in an industry career?

While academia focuses on developing a single expertise, industry offers the opportunity to learn about a variety of applications related to the scientist's field, providing continuous intellectual stimulation.

Q: Is the esteem associated with being a scientist lost in an industry career?

Although scientists no longer discover new science in industry, they can still find recognition and rewarding work by developing applications and turning science into useful products.

Q: How is job security different in academia and industry?

In the tenure-track model of academia, job security is guaranteed after achieving tenure. In industry, job security is about developing a set of valuable skills that make it easier to transition between companies and industries, providing flexibility and excitement.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Scientists often worry about getting into an industry career and later regretting their decision, feeling stuck after leaving academia.

  • Concerns include the love for learning new things, the esteem associated with earning a PhD, and the loss of job security.

  • However, in the speaker's experience, these concerns were satisfied in different ways in industry, such as learning about various applications, finding recognition in developing useful products, and gaining job security through valuable and transferable skills.

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